EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, May 23, 2008

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - Pennsylvania State Board of Education
    - Pennsylvania Department of Education
    Pennsylvania Bulletin

    The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.


    Mayors from cities across Pennsylvania met in Harrisburg last week and concluded that the best way to ensure economic development is to invest in our schools.  They know that we need highly educated young people to provide leadership and vitality in years to come.

    We can secure a bright economic future for our state only by assuring that all kids can get a good education, no matter where they live.  We need our state government to provide adequate funding for schools, and we need a school funding formula that doesn’t depend on the wealth of students’ parents and neighbors.

    Click here to tell your legislators it’s essential all kids receive a good education, no matter where they live, in order for Pennsylvania to remain economically competitive.  It’s time to make education funding a priority this spring and enact a permanent school funding formula on which districts can rely from year to year.

    We have no time to waste!  Our Pennsylvania legislators will soon be debating the 2008-2009 state budget.  Your legislators are at home now, in their district offices, so find their phone numbers here and call them.  Or send a message today.  Urge your legislators to stand up for public education.

    For more information on the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign and additional tools and resources for your work, please go to www.paschoolfunding.org.


    State Board of Education

    The Pennsylvania State Board of Education voted to add student representation to the Board
    at its May 22 meeting. Changes approved to the Board’s by-laws will provide seats for four student members. One Pennsylvania high school student (or who has graduated within the last 12 months) will sit on the Council of Basic Education and one student enrolled at a Pennsylvania postsecondary education institution (or who has graduated within the last 12 months) will sit on the Council for Higher Education. Additionally, two student members-elect will be selected to serve on each Council and continue to the position of the student member in the following year. Student representatives will serve one-year terms in a non-voting capacity and be entitled to attend all meetings of the board, its councils, and committees. In 2007, the Board received a grant from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to research student participation in Board activity.

    High school students will be selected from a list of names submitted by the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils which represents students from public, private and parochial schools. Higher education students will be selected from names put forth by an advisory committee representing various postsecondary education sectors (community colleges, PASSHE universities, state-related universities, and proprietary institutions).

    Pennsylvania Department of Education

    Guidelines for teacher education programs related to new state requirements for teacher training in working with students with disabilities and English language learners are now available at www.teaching.state.pa.us/teaching/cwp/view.asp?Q=139786&A=135.  These new training requirements were adopted as part of the State Board of Education’s previous revisions to Chapter 49, which changed the state’s teacher certification system.  The PDE web site also includes program guidelines for the state’s new K-4 teaching certificate, as well as program guidelines for the new 4-8 teaching certificate.  Finally, PDE’s web site also provides information about how the new certificates relate to highly qualified teacher requirements in Pennsylvania.


    Public comments on proposed revisions to the state’s high school graduation requirements will be accepted by the State Board of Education through June 16, 2008.  Proposed revisions to Chapter 4 (regulations governing Academic Standards and Assessments) were published in the May 17 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which initiated the beginning of a formal 30-day public comment period on the plan to establish end-of-course exams as an additional means of assessing whether students are proficient in the state’s academic standards.  Instructions on submitting comments, as well as a copy of the proposed changes, are available at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol38/38-20/925.html.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Industry recently launched a new web site geared toward providing students and educators with a tool to explore career opportunities in different interests and fields.  The site includes a self-assessment tool to identify careers related to an individual’s personal interests, as well as a database through which students can search specific occupations to learn about the educational requirements and skills necessary for the job and projections for job openings in the industry.  PDE recently held a contest for educators to develop lesson plans on how to use the new site.  To learn more about the PA Career Zone, please visit www.pacareerzone.org.

  • School districts can apply for grants of up to $15,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to promote healthy lifestyles and food choices by kindergarteners.  The Healthy Farms and Healthy Schools program is designed to raise awareness about healthy eating habits and locally-grown food through classroom activities, field trips to Pennsylvania farms, and field-based training for educators.  The deadline to apply for the grant is June 17, 2008.  For more information on the program and a grant application, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=144973.

  • The 34th annual Family Involvement Conference will be held in Lake Harmony, PA from October 26-29, 2008.  Nominations are now being accepted for individuals or groups who have demonstrated a leadership role in initiating, developing or promoting effective family/parent involvement programs, practices, or partnerships to receive an award at the conference. The deadline for nominations is September 1, 2008.  For more information, please go to, www.familyinvolvementconference.com.

    The Pennsylvania House and Senate will return to session on Monday, June 2, 2008.

    Next Week...

  • EPLC hosts a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum in Pittsburgh on Thursday.  The subject is the Pennsylvania STEM Initiative.

  • For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

    EPLC Education Notebook is published by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Permission to reprint or electronically redistribute the Notebook in whole or in part is granted provided attribution to EPLC is provided.

    The Education Policy and Leadership Center is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization. The Mission of EPLC is to encourage and support the enactment and implementation of effective state-level education policies in order to improve student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages.

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